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Published: June 16th 2011
Steep sided Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lauterbrunnen valley. Murren sits on top of the cliff tops via a cable way. Note the 4000m peaks in the background.
Today was supposed to be as fine as we could expect for a few days and if we were to go to the Schilthorn, then this was the day to do it. We caught the train to Lauterbrunnen and walked up the valley for an hour or so to Stechelberg. It was a very warm 28 degrees and we were happy to find a shady place for a picnic lunch.
On arriving at the Schilthornbahn (cable car that carries 100+ people) we heard that the Schilthorn was in the cloud which isn’t surprising since it is 3000m high. There is no point in visiting the tops of peaks if you arrive in cloud especially if you have paid for the journey. The Swiss Pass covers us to Murren but not up the Schilthorn so we gave it a miss and instead got the funicular up Allmendhubel which is a knob/hill above Murren. The views from here are absolutely superb. On the Murren side of the valley up on the glacial bench top, you are looking directly at the Eiger (3970m), Monch (4107), Jungfrau (4158) and many other peaks up to 4000 metres. Since the Lauterbrunnen valley is a classic glacial
Murren above Lauterbrunnen Valley
Looking down on Murren from a hiking trail above. Looking across to Kleine Scheidegg Pass to Grindelwald
valley it has sheer perpendicular rock faces on each side with the rock face up to Murren at 600m. On the Jungfrau side of the valley, the rock faces beyond the Trummelbach Falls continue to rise vertically to the high mountain tops. You are struck by the immensity of the rock faces in the high alps.
We took a trail from Allmendhubel to Suppenalp, Schiltalp, Spielbodenalp and down and around back to Murren. This trail is above the forest and into high alpine grassland with small alp farms – hence the names of Suppenalp, Schiltalp etc. We cut across the large basins sitting below the Schilthorn. There are numerous hiking trails all across this side of the Lauterbrunnen valley and we will return to do some of them since all give awesome alpine experiences. The grandeur of this area cannot be explained without actually seeing it since a camera cannot do any justice.
The only downside of the day was the cloud that developed in patches across the mountains which spoilt the views just a little.
On returning to Murren we had a beer at a tavern in the bahn station where we have always stopped in
A cow shelter
Cows in a shelter on an alp above Murren
past trips and photographed for the record. This valley and the superb places around Grindelwald and Interlaken are the reasons we continue to return to this area. Not only is the scenery awesome, but it is accessible. Take today: we got a train from Grindelwald to Zweilutchenen and there was a train connecting directly with one to Lauterbrunnen. A bus will then take you up the valley to the Bahn station if you want it. The Bahn (aerial cable car) will then take you up the 600m cliff to Murren and on up to the Schilthorn in three stops. You can get off anywhere lower or higher and find many hiking options. From Murren you can go back the same way as we did or get a train to Grutschalp along the cliff top and then a cable way back down to Lauterbrunnen. Then train back home the same way. They all connect with the intention of getting people up into these beautiful places. Of course, it’s all about making money too but it is a unique experience that only the fit and able can do at home.
Because Murren sits high up on a cliff top plateau, it is difficult for vehicles so it is a carless town. Away down the Lauterbrunnen valley is access for farm vehicles with a very steep ascent. Stechelberg, on the river flat below Murren has a huge parking and garaging area so I guess the inhabitants leave their cars their and get the cable way up to the town. Wengen is much the same on the other side of the valley. The area above the plateau looks superb for skiing in the winter and is well set up with many ski tows.
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